Race: An Evaluation of Science Against Society
Race as a social construct has a negative effect on society since its creation. Evolving from honest curiosity, science allowed for the desires of oppressive society to speak rather than the truth. Decades of misuse and misunderstanding of this term explained with wrongful biological terms can now stop. By acknowledging the misuse of ‘race’ through the examination of it used in such arbitrary manners shows its inherent flaws. In order to mediate this issue of incorrect usage, a new biological approach becomes more than appropriate. Genotype rather than phenotypic information ought to define race. In doing so, perhaps, the term race will better society by focusing on creating medicine based …show more content…
When asked to predict whose genotype would be the closest to their own, each student chose a student with similar phenotypic characteristics. Once the results arrive, the predictions of the students fail. A black female has a closer match to a white male than a black male, in terms of genotypes. If this were more common knowledge, the fact that physical features do not necessary equate to our former classifications of race, many Americans might well be shaken from their dogmatic slumber. In order to wake Americans, a new scientific approach is in order. By examining specific traits in the human genome, new inferences can be made.
Using this new scientific approach, the current accepted cultural notion of race ought to shift. One can no longer base or classify one ‘race’ from another based on phenotypic occurrences. Genes hold the key. By understanding how genes connect us all except for a few minute differences of superficial appearance, demonstrates that race as a social construction is no longer useful. Scientific American gives us tangible evidence when it states “individuals from different populations are, on average, just slightly more different from one another than are individuals from the same population” (81). Someone who shares your same cultural traditions based on geographical location can differ genotypically more than someone from another region. The utility of race was once to separate and control the ‘different
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Humans define race by how they conceive and categorize different social realities. Thus, race is often referred to as a social construct. The differences in skin color and facial characteristics have led most of society to classify humans into groups instead of individuals. These constructs affect us all, and they often result in situations where majority racial groups cause undue suffering to those that are part of the minority. The understanding of race as a social construct is best illustrated by the examination of racial issues within our own culture, specifically those that have plagued the history of the United States.
Additionally, there is a substantial lack of real evidence that the divisions between groups that we often specify as “races” actually have specific genetic identities. The extreme presence of ambiguity central to races, and the plentiful variations within these races point towards evidence that even two randomly selected citizens of European descent could be more genetically related to a person of Asian descent than they are to each other.
However, the video Race: The Power of Illusion presents significant evidence refuting the biological theories of race. Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory instructor Scott Bronson and several high school students from different ethnicities conducted personal genetic research exploring biological race theory. Students’ typed their blood, compared skin tones and took DNA samples. After sending the samples to a genetics lab, Bronson asked students whom they might expect to be more genetically similar to in the workshop. The consensus of the students was that they would each be genetically comparable to others in the group with similar physical attributes.
Race is a hot topic in our world. We all think we know what race is. After all, we are constantly being bombarded with it whether it be from media, politics, or sports. The truth is that race does not revolve around the idea of biological traits or characteristics. It is a modern concept that we as a society have created to divide people into categories. I will argue that race is socially constructed from a biological, political history, and sociological standpoint, and how it may impact other areas of our society.
The idea of race in society is truly that; an idea. However, one of the first things one notices about another human is their perceived race. Often, incorrect assumptions are made about a person, based on his race. In addition, many believe race can be determined by biological factors. However, there is no biological basis to race. Without a doubt, genes play a role in our skin, hair, and eye color; however, there are not certain genes present in an entire race and not another. Race is not clear cut; if one were to travel from either pole to the equator, a specific location could not be identified to separate any two races.
The principles of genetics and evolution show that race, biologically does not exist. The differences that appear in humans does not come from an allele that marks for a specific race. Usually most of the variations we see in humans comes from mutations that occur. The change in DNA is a major factor of variation in humans, it is something random which means certain attributes aren’t associated with a specific race. Another important thing to note is that all humans share the basic structure of DNA. This reinforces the idea that race is a social construct, not a reality of nature. Another main source of variation comes from gene flow (the movement of alleles to and from a certain location). Populations have always been moving from one place to another, and through this a trait can become more unique or more common. So there is less to do about
The “AAA Statement on Race” explains “...that human populations are not unambiguous, clearly demarcated, biologically distinct groups.” Our population is a melting pot of skin colors, hair textures, and facial features, yet these distinctions seem to separate us in the wrong way. These groups can give us vital medical information, such as races that are prone to heart disease, but we instead manipulate these groups to create deficient stereotypes. (Boyd and Silk: 388) Moreover, a certain number of races does not exist because every human is unique, therefore these stereotypes are just fabricated from our culture. There is more difference within groups than between groups. (Boyd and Silk: 389) Accordingly, this diversity should be respected instead of putting people against each other. “The differences between races are due to biological heritage.” (Boyd and Silk: 388) Just because we are similar in race does not mean we are the same type of people and fall into the same stereotypes. If there is more diversity within groups, dividing race into three or four groups is not accurate
The PBS series “Race: The Power of an Illusion” effectively works to expose race as a social construct and deconstructs the false notions that race is a biological marker. The series first discusses that all human beings originated from Africa but dispersed about 70,000 years ago to various places in the world. As a result of this migration, people were spread to different locations throughout the world with different environmental conditions that affected their physical traits. It was many years after the migration in which people began to display these new physical traits such as slanted eyes, fair skin, and differing hair textures. While the series notes the physical changes that occurred during the migration it also emphasizes that race while it may seem apparent in skin color and other physical features has no real biological basis.
In Sharon Begley’s article, “Three is not enough,” the author focuses her argument on the fact that race should not be defined by his or her body components, such as DNA, hair, eye, or skin color. In other words, race should be justified by their social interactions with others and build upon one’s behaviors and actions.That is to say, one’s skin color, physical appearance do not define who he or she is, nor does it impose a stereo type of that a certain group of people. The word race is often misunderstood, many believe that race is used to label one group of people, and make assumptions about a certain group of people. However, this is wrong according to Sharon Begley, author of “ Three Is Not Enough”. Begley cites a study done by biologist
Throughout the video, Race: The Power of Illusion, it describes how the human eye identifies race by physical appearance, which includes skin color, hair texture, and body shape. However, in this video, we learn that genetics can tell us something completely different. Our genetics can help determine that an individual can have a genetic makeup of more than one race. Alan Goodman, an anthropologist, said the following, “to understand why the idea of race is a biological myth requires a major paradigm shift.” I do agree with his statement. Our society is so focused on race and that a person’s skin color automatically associated them to one specific race. After watching this video, I believe that this is false. People have genetic makeups of
The English term ‘race’ is believed to originate from the Spanish word raza, which means ‘breed’ or ‘stock’ (Race). People use race to define other groups, this separation of groups is based largely on physical features. Features like skin color and hair don’t affect the fundamental biology of human variation (Hotz). Race is truly only skin deep, there are no true biological separations between two ‘racial’ groups. Scientifically speaking, there is more variation between single local groups than there is between two large, global groups; the human variation is constantly altering (Lewontin). The majority of today’s anthropologists agree that race is a form of social categorization, not the separation of groups based on biological
Traits are usually seen as racial but in actuality it is due to adaptations that have been influenced by natural selection.” A race is a great division of mankind, the members of which, though individually varying, are characterized
The concept of race and the meanings associated with the term have continuously changed and evolved throughout history. Many negative connotations have been associated with the word race and these are evident as one reflects on the historical origins of the term. Commonly the term race is closely connected to the notion of ‘racism.’ Racism is a specific form of prejudice which focuses on physical variations between people. It describes the ideological belief that a person, or groups of people can be classified into ‘races’ which can be ranked in terms of superiority and inferiority (Spoonley, 1988:4). Giddens defines racism as “the attribution of characteristics of superiority or inferiority to a population sharing certain physically inherited characteristics” (1997:584). This supports the idea that racism is a manner of prejudice or animosity against people who have different physical characteristics. It is in virtue of circumstances such as these that Anthropologists find it necessary to make a distinction between the concepts of race and ethnicity.
The Williams Model is the most prominent model for analysing the relationship between race and health. Conceptualisation of race is important and can have implications in society in the form of racism (Williams, 1997). The historical definition of race was on a biological basis, but it was later found that there was a slight biological difference between different races (Bhopal, 2004). At this time, there was a stigma around those with different physical appearances and this contributed to racism, where people were ‘othered’. Now, the more favoured definition of race is the human classification of people based on social origins such as ancestry and social interactions between them (Bhopal, 2004). Despite the more
Fortunately, Sykes’ scientific discoveries have benefited society as a whole in many ways. First of all, Sykes’ research dismisses the existence of races. Instead of categorizing and grouping people by color, origin or culture, he looks at the shared genetic information among people and links them to one another accordingly. The